11 months before Tripura polls, TMC has state committee in place

With 11 months to go to assembly elections in Tripura, the Trinamool Congress Friday announced its full-fledged state committee with convener, and former BJP vice-president, Subal Bhowmik named as the state president.

The announcement was made from the official Twitter handle of All India Trinamool Congress’ Tripura chapter. “The All India Trinamool Congress under the inspiration and guidance of Hon’ble Chairperson Smt @MamataOfficial is pleased to announce the Tripura Pradesh Trinamool Congress State Committee…We wish the very best to all the appointees in their endeavour,” the tweet read.

Rajib Banerjee, a former minister in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet, would serve as state in-charge while Bhowmik would helm the party affairs as state president.

Speaking to indianexpress.com this afternoon, Bhowmik said the state committee was announced to strengthen the party organization in Tripura, aiming at the 2023 assembly elections. “Public life and rule of law is endangered in BJP-ruled Tripura. Mamata Banerjee and the TMC are actively thinking about Tripura. I’ve been given charge of the new committee and we shall work together to end this fascist regime. We are confident people will choose Trinamool to overcome this era of misrule,” he said.

So far, Bhowmik has changed parties seven times. In 2008, he was a Congress MLA. He moved to BJP where he used to be the state vice-president till the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when he shifted to Congress and contested. He lost to BJP contestant Pratima Bhowmik, who is now a minister of state in the Union council. Last year, he joined the TMC.

The state leadership will comprise a six-member core committee, including state president, Trinamool MP Sushmita Dev, who shifted from Congress last year, former BJP MLA in Tripura Ashish Das, who joined TMC last year, Ashish Lal Singh, Bhrigu Ram Reang and Mamon Khan. TMC has also included senior members and youths in other committees and panels.

Former minister in the Congress-Tripura Upajati Juba Samiti (TUJS) government Prakash Chandra Das was named vice-president along with seven others. Baptu Chakraborty, who previously headed the TMC youth wing in the ad hoc steering committee, was named as one of five general secretaries. He had joined TMC from Congress in September last year.

The Trinamool state panel also has 14 secretaries, seven joint secretaries, a 72-member executive committee and four frontal organizations for youth, women and SC and ST cells.

The Bengal-based party, which ruffled quite a few feathers in the civic body polls last year, ended up scoring third position with a 16.39 per cent vote share.

While the Trinamool Congress is flaunting its growth from 0.30 per cent vote share in 2018 assembly election results to 16.39 per cent in 2021 civic polls as a precursor of the big fight it will put up, most political watchers have said they feel the fight will be between the ‘Left’ and the ‘Right’ in 2023.

TMC, despite its apparent growth in vote share, was often accused of having no structured organization and local leadership. The party seems to have prepared itself to respond to these critiques with the extensive state committee.

Trinamool Congress has had three previous attempts to expand its base in Tripura, starting with former chief minister Sudhir Ranjan Majumder who started TMC’s state unit in 1999. Six Congress MLAs shifted camps and joined Trinamool Congress in 2016, only to further shift to BJP a year later. TMC’s rank and file has seen a swell since the party’s win in Bengal earlier in 2021.